During the latest of many phone-in interviews with Fox News’s morning show Fox & Friends, Mr Trump demanded attorney general Bill Barr investigate a laptop allegedly containing incriminating emails belonging to Hunter Biden.
Citing the fact that 11 house Republicans have asked the Department of Justice to appoint an “independent, unbiased special counsel” to look into the matter, host Brian Kilmeade asked the president if he would be pressing for an investigation.
“We’ve gotta get the attorney general to act,” replied the president. “He’s gotta act, and he’s gotta act fast. He’s gotta appoint somebody. This is major corruption, and this has to be known about before the election. And by the way, we’re doing very well, we’re gonna win the election.”
After an incoherent riff on his imminent victory – despite polling that shows him behind Joe Biden both nationally and in numerous swing states – Mr Trump returned to the theme. “But forget that. This has to be done early. So the attorney general has to act.”
The laptop story has been heavily featured on Fox News shows since it was broken by the New York Post, though there are reports that the network turned it down because of credibility concerns.
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Many outlets critical of Mr Trump have voiced suspicions about the story. They have pointed to a confused and murky account of how the laptop made its way to law enforcement, as well as to suspicious associates of the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani – chief among them Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian parliamentarian who has helped search for compromising information on the Bidens and whom the US Treasury has designated an “active Russian agent”.
The president, who frequently describes the Justice Department as his to instruct, has many times called for Mr Barr to investigate political rivals past and present, among them Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, the Bidens, and former members of the intelligence and law enforcement community. He has also demanded leniency when it comes to allies and associates facing legal action, in particular Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
Mr Trump recently used another phone interview, this one with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo, to offer Mr Barr an ultimatum if he did not investigate the nebulous conspiracy theory the president refers to as “Obamagate”.
“Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes,” he said, “the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we’re gonna get little satisfaction unless I win. Because I won’t forget it. But these people should be indicted, this was the greatest political crime in the history of our country.”
The latest phone-in discussion on Fox & Friends saw a hoarse-sounding Mr Trump repeatedly veer off topic into meandering answers. At one point, he complained that if it were one of his sons whose laptop had been seized, the story would be the lead item on every TV network, then began describing his campaign in Texas – warning the people of the state that Mr Biden wants to “take away your guns, your oil and your God”.